Arc Sonny Echono, the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has been honoured with the first and most prestigious Medal of Honour Award by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).
Arc. Echono received the award in Accra, Ghana, at the Extra Ordinary Steering Committee Meeting of the Agricultural Research, and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) for his outstanding support and vision for implementing the blueprint of Agricultural Research and Development by the African Union for Nigeria.
FARA has been in partnership with TETFund since 2020, working together to build a strategic competence through ARIFA with the goal of systematic infusion of a new crop of professionals in Nigeria for the delivery of commensurate competencies in Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D).
The partnership leverages the best practices of the South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) strategy for FARA to contribute to building the knowledge-based economy through TETFund Centres of Excellence (TCoE) across the country.
To date, TETFund has sponsored close to 100 fellows drawn from a cohort of Nigerian academia to undertake tailor-made master’s degree programmes in various fields of sciences related to Agriculture in Brazilian universities led by a consortium of the Brazilian Federation of International Education (FAUBAI) and the Federal University of Vicosa.
Speaking during the meeting, Arc. Echono, in his continued drive to support the agricultural transformation, expressed his commitment to expanding the number of fellows to at least 500, given the encouraging footprint of the programme.
Presenting the award on behalf of the Chairman, FARA Board of Directors, Dr. Alioune Fall, Executive Director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo stated that the award was in recognition of the Executive Secretary’s continued effort to support agricultural transformation in Nigeria through Science.
“An Architect by training and well-established agribusiness entrepreneur, he comes to his current position with strong accolades and solid footprints in the Agricultural sector. As the erstwhile Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Arc Echono demonstrated commendable support for the efforts of FARA as the Capacity Development Cluster with accelerated vigour,” he said.
“You are the first recipient of this kind of honour, so it is my pleasure to give it to you in recognition of what you did for us in the past and what you are doing now. It is very inspiring for us,” he added.
The FARA Executive Director noted that the Medal is an insignia of honour bestowed on deserving laureates to promote leadership in African Agricultural Research and Innovation.